Former Procter & Gamble Executive Takes Over As New CEO Of Audemars Piguet
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Former Procter & Gamble Executive Takes Over As New CEO Of Audemars Piguet

Former Procter & Gamble Executive Takes Over As New CEO Of Audemars Piguet


  • A seismic timekeeping shift is taking place at Audemars Piguet HQ as a new CEO is announced.
  • It’s time to say au revoir to François-Henry Bennahmias and bonjour to his new replacement llaria Resta.
  • The former Procter & Gamble Exec’s recent role was for Firmenich as President of worldwide fragrance and ingredients. 
  • It brings to an end a nearly three decade run for Bennahmias who has undoubtedly made Audemars Piguet one of the hottest luxury watch brands in the sector. 


The Rumour Mill


This had been swirling for quite a few months regarding the departure of the big boss at Audemars Piguet, François-Henry Bennahmias. Unlike Antonio Conte, we are sure the AP honcho went in a slightly better manner than the Italian!




François-Henry Bennahmias is still in charge at AP until the beginning of next year but gossip Kings and Queens had other ideas. Although the transition to a new CEO had been in the pipeline since 2017, the horological cat was let out of the bag in this exclusive interview with Le Temps. It is though in French to pre warn you, watch peeps. Voila!

In addition, it is believed that François-Henry Bennahmias wanted to go out on top in 2022, to coincide with the 50 year anniversary of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. In fact, we reported back in February 2023 that the current AP CEO was due to step down after the launch of the three handed Code 11.59 Steel Collection

And now the seeds have been sown for a new appointment with a more female touch. More on that shortly watch fans. But first a little about the man, the myth, the legend Monsieur Bennahmias.


Background Of François-Henry Bennahmias


Commencing in 1994, little did François-Henry Bennahmias know that he would go on to increase revenue massively - to the tune of approximately £1.78 billion. Plus the brand’s turnover has increased twofold since 2020. Talk about being in the black! But he won’t be turning over any new leaves at AP. He leaves the brand in excellent shape ensuring they remain in the Top 5 of Swiss luxury brands featuring Omega, Cartier and Rolex.


Source: Twitter

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He has been leading Audemars Piguet as CEO for the best part of ten years. Manufacturing some 50,000 watches annually means exclusivity, sales and prices were high on the agenda. Take for example the specially made Royal Oak A-Series with the even rarer Royal Oak Green that was produced in extremely small quantities through their own boutique stores. 

Then there’s the 2018 Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin that never even made it to the market while one year later saw the launch of another beauty…the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin RD#2. With the reference number 26586IP.OO.1240IP.01, this majestic watch was limited to only 200 pieces and enjoyed a melange of titanium and platinum sans the iconic Grande Tapisserie dial.

While his desire was to stay on as CEO for only ten years, the search like the X Factor has come to a dramatic finale. Enter stage left a new female-led vision for the brand. So who has the Beast from Le Brassus opted for to carry on the timekeeping torch?


Ilaria Resta 


An interesting choice to say the least timelords. AP has decided to hire Swiss-Italian Ilaria Resta as their new CEO. She brings with her a wealth of experience…none of it from a horological background we hasten to add.


Source: Linkedin


What’s Her Background?


After working at Procter & Gamble for more than two decades, mainly in FMCG, Resta went on to become President of Perfumery & Ingredients at Firmenich. No, something doesn’t smell pungent over at AP Towers…but only time will tell if she can drive the brand forward.

According to Firmenich’s website, Gilbert Ghostine, Chief Executive Officer described her appointment to this role along the following lines;

“Ilaria has successfully led the transformation of our Perfumery business since she joined three years ago and has been pioneering a wide array of innovations to lead Perfumery into new markets while driving winning performance with our customers. Together with Amaury, who has an unparalleled understanding of both Perfumery and our Ingredients business, while embracing our Group values for over a decade, they will take the business to new heights.”

Confused? Sure perfume and watches sit nicely in the luxury sector but will she be able to match the watch sales of her predecessor?

Furthermore, the chairman of Audemars Piguet, Alessandro Bogliolo declared in an official statement that she is;

“a visionary leader with a passion for craftsmanship who will take Audemars Piguet into the future... Her proven record of delivering results through clear strategic thinking based on deep consumer insights will keep AP’s legacy relevant for generations to come and ensure long lasting growth. Ilaria’s belief in the empowerment of teams and her accomplishments as an inspirational leader in corporate sustainability fully align with Audemars Piguet’s long-standing values as an independent family-owned company."




Resta will assume the mantle on January the 1st 2024. And boy is it an unenviable task. Will she prove to be the David Moyes of luxury watch brands? 


Source: Daily Express


Although not cut from the same timekeeping cloth as Bennahmias, like Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, she may be in effect replacing the irreplaceable. The result? Moyes was gone 9 months later after signing a prestigious six year contract in 2013. Fingers crossed this doesn’t turn out the same for the newbie but these are major horological boots to fill. 

Responsible for defining collections such as the Royal Oak and bringing other concepts to the table like the Code 11.59 collection and Royal Oak Concept, François-Henry Bennahmias also brought out significant collabs before they were cool or on trend. 

Think the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph “End of Days” from 1999 which Arnold Schwarzenneger wore in the film’s namesake back in 1999. Celebrating 30 years of “The Beast” this had a recent revamp thanks to the recent release of the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph End Of Days Reference 26420CE. 

This was precisely about the same time when Manchester United were undertaking a historic treble trophy haul of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League…the latter on a heady day in Barcelona against German giants Bayern Munich. And Solskjaer has won it! Sadly, however, the don of watchmaking management won’t be back this time! 

Adieu mon ami.



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Further Reading: 

Watch Crime: Audemars Piguet Lead Charge To Combat Stolen Watches

Chrono Hunter’s Must Have Panda Dial Chronographs


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